A Journey through the PYP Exhibition (part 3 – reflections)

It is well after the fact that I sit to write this but I have been thinking a lot about the process of PYPx and how it is and will continue to tie into the learning and planning for inquiry across the whole school this year. This academic year I am no longer in class myself so I have more collaborative planning time and I am also teaching English Language Learners (ELLs). Also to clarify, we have changed the names of our classes from Years to Grades hence some discrepancies below.

What were the main PYPx takeaways and the resulting action?

We talked about PYPx all year but we could have made it more explicit in terms of preparation of specific aspects.

  • This year we have already shared the PYPx Handbook with the Grade 5 students
  • Students have already started developing concept questions and lines of inquiry in other units
  • Students are talking in terms of their PYPx and their learning and how one will support the other
  • Students have a better understanding of their roles and responsibility in the PYPx and how all rads are leading to Rome, so to speak
  • Students are really excited and motivated about the whole process!
From the Exhibition

What could we have done to make the whole process more accessible to the ELLs?

  • Break down the required language throughout the year – start with unpacking the SDGs and the PYPx Handbook
  • Look at getting copies of the main documentation translated into the main home languages; such as the handbook
  • Increase the push-in ELL support time for the Grade 5s as the PYPx approaches
  • Lessen the requirements in English: more in home language with the support of home language teachers where possible. (Last year all students produced part of their PYPx in home languages and on the day the presentations and interactions with parents and guests were certainly multilingual.)
  • Encourage PYPx Mentors who speak a variety of languages and can help the students to access through the home language. This could be parents and members of the wider school community.
  • Agree how to do all of the above points with the students and get the families more involved.

Work with the whole school to build on the idea that we are all preparing the children for PYPx

  • We are planning more of the units with the involvement of students in younger grades
  • We are being more explicit about concepts and lines of inquiry and how they work to build and support understanding
  • We are building Rubrics of Understanding with the students
  • The teachers who are new to the school and the PYP, all have a copy of the PYPx Handbook and are using this to support them in their own planning and unit development
  • We are working on building the reflective practices of the children to support the process
  • We are developing the children’s thinking about action and what it may be beyond a ‘bake sale’!
A sample of research carried out in Arabic

There is still a lot more to do and that I will doubtless think of as I reflect further and we move towards this year’s PYP Exhibition. As a teacher of nearly 30 years the PYP Exhibition was one of the hardest and yet most rewarding things I have ever done with students. Knowing their starting points and yet what they inquired into, produced and explained on the day was nothing short of amazing. Watching their growth as individuals becoming better listeners, more confident and collaborative learners was priceless.

It makes me think, again, how lucky I am to be in this job and on this learning journey!

The exhibition what our kids showed us last week made me so proud of them.

Sylvia Zheng, PYP 6 Parent (2018-2019)

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